Saturday, May 22, 2010

Will Flash be the game changer on Mobile?

Android and FlashI have never been a fan of Flash when it comes to web development. I know there are some cool Flash sites out there but I always thought that when it comes to some serious web development, HTML, CSS and Javascript is the best choice. Also it’s easy to maintain. There is another story that long back in 2000-04 I wanted to do some heavy duty Flash stuff but my inability to pick up action scripting had killed my ambitions. But I could some how master the HTML CSS art which was simpler for me which eventually made me a non supporter of Flash.

But then look around and tell me what the role of Flash in main stream web is today? Mainly Videos and Rich Ads. Other than that everything is pretty much HTML. How much of Adobe's site is done in Flash? OK I'm keeping the Flash gaming sites away for a moment as it’s a different genre altogether. Will get there in a moment.

The new web mantra is HTML5 (I haven't completely understood or mastered the capabilities of HTML5 yet) using which I can apparently completely ignore flash and create flash like graphics and interactivity. HTML5 also supports native audio/video player. As all modern desktop and mobile browsers become HTML5 compliant, the need for flash to play videos is going to be no more. As we know iPhones and iPads don’t support flash but I don’t think they have missed videos that much. Note that iPhone significantly increased the usage of mobile internet in spite of not having Flash. But yeah of course the Nickelodeon site doesn't work on it. But is iPhone/iPad meant for users of Nickelodeon?

iPhone also has some amazing rich ad experiences built using the HTML-CSS-Javascript combo. In fact the ads made for iPhone are better than the predictable Flash ad experiences on traditional websites. Now iPhone even has an ad platform (iAd) which encourages brands to create amazing experiences using HTML5. Ad experiences made using HTML5 will work on all new age mobile browsers including Android and Nokia. So I don’t think brands are going to build separate experiences on Flash especially for phones which support Flash. Yes I’m talking about Flash coming on Android. I’m not excited. Btw Google too is pushing big for HTML5 (remember Google Pacman game logo?) as they are getting ready for Chrome OS and the new Android browser. Flash on mobile browser will be more of a “Good to have” feature as far as main stream web is concerned as they are going to push for cross platform compatibility. It’s not going to be a game changer for regular geek internet users like me.

So is Flash going to die? No. Flash is the number one choice for gaming sites on the web and they are all waiting to be on mobile too and that’s where Adobe should put its money on. I’m sure that the Flash game developers are peeved with Apple for not giving them a chance to be on iPhone web. iPhone/iPad are amazing gaming devices themselves on the app space. Android supporting Flash will give them the right edge over iPhone to be an ultimate internet gaming device. That means Farmville is going to be on Android. I’m sure that Zynga has already started working overnight to bring out mobile versions of their games by the time Froyo comes out. Facebook users and others who play these flash based games are truly going to root for Android.

I think Flash on Android is going to give a new opportunity for the Flash game developers to be on mobile but it wont be the game changer for Android phones.
Post a Comment